Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

Most Sundays, I find a little quiet time when my husband takes my oldest daughter to the grocery store to watch a live message from church. I love watching Andy Stanley, and I feel like he preaches about passages in a way that relates to everyone, even non-believers. I think that is what’s so great about his sermons, because he wants to reach everyone and teach them about Jesus, even if they have no knowledge of Him.

This Sunday, I had to catch up and watch the first message in the current series called Me and My Big Mouth, and the title of the message is Quick to Listen. If you have 40 minutes, you can listen to it HERE. The passage in the Bible that sparked this message is James 1:19-20.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

That passage and message hit me really hard, and is something that I have struggled with and am going to work on. Ever since I watched it, I’ve been linking it to everything going on in politics right now and in friendships. The main message is this: In an argument or discussion, we need to be¬†quick to listen and¬†slow to speak. That means that we need to truly listen to the other person’s ideas/points and not be thinking about how we are going to reply. If we are thinking about our reply, we’re not truly understanding. Then we need to ask questions if we don’t understand where the other person is coming from, instead of assuming.

Even if we believe we are right in the argument, we need to understand that the other person also believes that THEY are also right. We need to understand that God does not want us to be right¬†at one another, but right¬†with¬†one another. That really got to me. And when James says “anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” he is SO right! Everyone is concerned with rightness, and self righteousness, but that is NOT the righteousness that we need to be striving for.

22¬†Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23¬†Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror¬†24¬†and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.¬†25¬†But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,¬†and continues in it‚ÄĒnot forgetting what they have heard, but doing it‚ÄĒthey will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I keep reading this chapter in James and it gets me even more hyped. Verse 26 says “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is¬†worthless.” SO MANY people need to hear this. We(I’m just as guilty) as Christians need to be better about our actions and words and truly reflect how God wants us to be.

I know that this message could be helpful in my own marriage and in my own friendships. When someone tells me that I’ve hurt them, instead of claiming my own hurt or defending my actions, I will affirm their feelings and apologize. When I know I’m right, instead of stating my case with evidence or shutting down, I will be curious and patient while the other person explains their point of view. I wish more people would practice this too, and I feel like the world would be much more peaceful.

Try practicing this in your own relationships and let me know how it goes. You’ll make it, mama!

‚̧ Niki

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Reflections

I don’t know if it’s just me, or if all parents do it, but every night after putting my daughter to bed, I find myself looking at pictures I’ve taken during the day and laughing at all the funny things she said or did. It seems like while I’m in the moment, I’m tired, worn-out, and waiting for my husband to get home from work to help me. I realize that I criticize myself and how I acted earlier with her. I hope that she doesn’t remember the eye-roll that I gave her, or how I snapped at her when she asked for a snack for the forty-third time.
I take notice of how she treats her dolls and if that is any correlation, I think I’m doing a pretty good job. She talks sweetly to them, reads to them, feeds them, and puts them down for naps. She holds and rocks them alone in her rocking chair when she thinks no one is watching. It makes my heart melt seeing her love on her babies like I love on her. Even though I can see myself in her loving actions with her dolls, I pray that she doesn’t also notice my poor actions and words when I’m frustrated with her for not eating her lunch and then asking for a snack as soon as she gets down. You can probably tell I am still a little salty about that.
Tonight is no different from every other night. I sit here in my spot on the porch typing away and thinking about how I let the whole day slip away because I was tired and cranky and now I can’t get it back. People always say time flies. I found that to be true when Aubrey started turning over, crawling, standing, walking, RUNNING, when she turned 1, when she started talking, and when she turned 2. Now I realize it goes so fast because we are waiting for something. Waiting for the weekend, waiting for our husbands to get home, waiting for a break. We don’t just live in the moment and ENJOY the moment.
I am going to strive to do better. I am going to strive to BE better for my daughters. Today, I complained to my husband that Aubrey was misbehaving and being really sassy to me. I kept asking her “why? why are you acting like this?”. I know she’s two, but she is really a great kid and today she just seemed off. Then I realized that those puckered lips, scowl on her face, and snapping at me could have been and probably was caused by me. It hit me how my attitude towards her is shaping her; the good and the bad.
Tomorrow is going to be different. I am going to pause and think about what to say to Aubrey instead of raising my voice or glaring. I am going to play in her kitchen with her and pretend-eat all of the food she makes for me. I’m going to put my phone down and stop looking at the time. When she asks me for a snack for the forty-third time, I’m not going to snap. I don’t want another day to go by where I feel like it slipped through my fingers, and I also don’t want another day to go by where Aubrey feels like I don’t want to be there. One day, Aubrey won’t want to play with me anymore and I’m not ready for that day to come yet.